We’re back with a brand-new episode of our queer, Philly-based switchblade-and-sorcery web novel, The Dread Eclipse, with new updates published weekly on Thursdays!
Caren and Nathaniel get intimate, awkward, and (maybe too) vulnerable in “Nochebuena.”
Enjoy the preview below, along with a link to the full episode and a free downloadable EPUB and PDF of all episodes to date. ✨
story by Mabel Harper & Emrys Webb
written by Emrys Webb
Soren raised an eyebrow. “The creature was immune to Vernon’s maleficium?”
Caren and Ash sat with Soren’s inner circle in the drawing room of Soren’s penthouse, in pretty much the same arrangement they’d occupied the night before. Soren, Ishaan, and Miles were already dressed for bed in silk pajamas and velvet smoking jackets. Sicko Mode had changed out of his shredded, bloodstained suit into an oversized Pokémon hoodie. Nathaniel had swapped out his own bloodied clothes for an Adidas tracksuit and was nursing a cup of healing panchrest instead of a nightcap like the others.
“Not immune, exactly,” said Ash. “But it sure as hell didn’t kill her, and she recovered fully from serious injuries in less than ten seconds.”
“She’s got some kind of mind control powers,” Nathaniel added, frowning into his cup.
“Yeah,” Caren agreed. “Whether it was full-on cogimancy or just mesmerism or something like that, hard to say. But at the very least she’s really damn persuasive…and good at reading people.” She scowled to herself.
“Super speed—maybe even chronomancy,” Ash went on. At the mention of time magic, Ishaan raised an eyebrow. “Super strength. Possibly teleportation—able to vanish without a trace. Defy gravity on a whim. I’d say we had the questionable luck of meeting a very ancient vampire—except she didn’t come off as anachronistic as I would have expected, based on my research.”
Nathaniel nodded agreement. “She blended right in at the teahouse.”
“We all mistook the victim for the vampire,” said Caren. “But I guess he was just some kind of fuckin’ steampunk dork. Uh, may he rest in peace.”
Nathaniel crossed himself.
“The vampire knew Auctoritas Magicae law, too,” said Ash. “She knew I had no legal authority to interfere with her basically doing whatever she wanted with the rest of you.”
“Yet she didn’t kill or feed from any of you,” observed Soren.
“She, uh…tasted Vernon…I guess is how I’d put it.” Ash glanced in the direction of Sicko Mode, who was on the floor next to the harpsichord spooning the cat, his back to the rest of them, and hadn’t said a word since they’d arrived. “It…struck me as a kind of cat-and-mouse thing. Like she was…toying with her prey.”
“Kinda felt like she was toying with all of us,” muttered Caren.